Spain lose to Croatia, will face Italy in loaded half of Euro 2016 bracket
The five most prestigious teams at Euro 2016 found themselves on the same side of the bracket as the knockout stage took shape on Tuesday.
Spain's late defeat to Croatia on Tuesday means they will face Italy in the round of 16 in a rematch of the Euro 2012 final, with England, Germany and hosts France also lined up on the same half of the bracket.
Those teams have combined for nine previous Euro titles, as well as 11 World Cups.
The other side features Switzerland, Poland, Croatia and Wales on the other side, with the places of the final seven teams to be determined on Wednesday.
But regardless of which teams end up there, no one on that half of the bracket will have ever won a major international title.
Ivan Perisic's late goal helped Croatia stun Spain 2-1, moving Croatia to the top spot in Group D.
After Alvaro Morata gave Spain an early lead, Croatia hit back through Nikola Kalinic shortly before the break.
Croatia keeper Danijel Subasic saved a penalty from Sergio Ramos in the second half, and Spain were made to pay when Perisic beat David De Gea at his near post in the 87th minute.
The result means Spain finished second and will have to play Italy in the round of 16 on Monday at the Stade de France.
Croatia will next play on Saturday in Lens against either Slovakia or the third-place team from Group E or Group F.
Also in Group D, Turkey beat Czech Republic 2-0 in Lens to keep alive their hopes of a place in the round of 16 and eliminate their opponents.
Turkey took the lead in the first half as Burak Yilmaz scored their first goal of Euro 2016, and Ozan Tufan ended Czech hopes in the 66th minute.
The win meant Turkey finished third in the group and moved above Albania in the ranking of third-placed teams, but they will still need one of the third-placed finishers in Group E or F to finish with a worse record to make the knockouts.
Should Turkey advance, they will face Wales on Saturday at the Parc des Princes.
Germany wrapped up the top spot in Group C with a dominant but slim 1-0 win over Northern Ireland, who also went through as third-place finishers after Turkey's result.
Mario Gomez scored the only goal as Germany largely overpowered their opponents, who were as concerned with limiting the damage as finding an equaliser.
Mesut Ozil fed Gomez at the top of the box and the Besiktas man played through Thomas Muller, who drew goalkeeper Michael McGovern out of position before passing back for Gomez to score in the 30th minute.
As Group C winners, Germany will next play on Sunday in Lille against Albania should they qualify, or Slovakia if Albania do not.
Poland also sealed their place in the knockout stage after beating Ukraine 1-0 to finish as Group C runners-up.
The win, secured by a goal from substitute Jakub Blaszczykowski, meant Poland finished behind Germany only on goal difference.
Minutes after Oleksandr Zinchenko had headed a chance over for Ukraine, Blaszczykowski broke the deadlock, shooting home after a short corner from a sharp Arkadiusz Milik touch on 54 minutes.
Poland will face Group A runners-up Switzerland in Saint-Etienne on Saturday.
The Group C results also secured a knockout-stage spot for Slovakia, the third-place team in Group B, as well as Group F leaders Hungary.
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